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Ethiopia’s highlands boast many unique ecological features, but long-term human occupation, accompanied by sedentary agriculture, extensive cattle herding, and consistent population pressure has resulted in extensive deforestation and environmental degradation.

Forest care has been practiced by the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church for centuries in the Amhara province. An aerial view of the region shows lush forests circling church buildings, an illustration of the spiritual motivations for ecological stewardship and restoration. Farmers, local administrative leaders, and the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church have worked together with Plant With Purpose to pursue watershed transformation.

Plant With Purpose in Ethiopia

In 2018 Plant With Purpose launched a pilot program to partner with farming families near the upper Blue Nile in the Andabet woreda in Amhara. 

Empowering Women

Upcoming Plant With Purpose curriculum is targeted at increasing the number of women involved in the program, as they are critical players in helping their communities escape poverty.

Expand the Work in Ethiopia

Key Stats

3
Program Watersheds
132
Savings Groups
2,653
Participating Families
12,787
People
55
Church Partnerships
535,574
Trees Planted

Meet Some of Our Partners from Ethiopia

Select an image to learn more.

Gateye becomes a community leader through tree planting.

Gateye becomes a community leader through tree planting.

Gateye is a member of a community with a successful tree nursery in Ethiopia. He is the eucalyptus merchant. Before joining a Purpose Group, he only did manual labor and didn’t participate in things like selling seedlings. When Plant With Purpose began work in his community, he got the opportunity to participate in tree nursery training and decide whether to establish a nursery. After the nursery was established through a social fund that all local community members contributed to, Gateye became a role model for the community. He actively participated and attended all meetings. He produced 15,000 birr in the dry season. He sold seedlings for 4 birr each. When he got a loan for 60,000 birr, he expanded his business by adding other seedling species, which the local community frequently purchases.

Emawey finds the freedom to expand her business.

Emawey finds the freedom to expand her business.

Entrepreneur Emawey is a member of a Purpose Group. She is educated and expected to be employed after graduation, but she did not have the opportunity to work. As a result, she is obliged to be self-employed.

Emawey started her own small shop and sold consumable products like matches. Her small business was profitable, but she was unable to expand her business because she did not have access to capital. Traditional financial institutions would not loan to her because she did not have property for collateral. She was unwilling to take a private loan because she saw the high interest rate and knew it could lead to bankruptcy. During this time, Plant With Purpose started its development work and set up a Purpose Group near her community. Emaway observed this and eventually joined the second Purpose Group in her area.

Six months later, Emaway was able to receive a loan from her savings group and expand her business to include onion, pepper, and other spices. Currently, she says that “everyone, particularly an individual who wants to start a small business and plans to engage in retailer activity should join a Purpose Group.”

BirieMinwagew’s reslience after a break-in and theft

BirieMinwagew’s reslience after a break-in and theft

BirieMinwagew has been a member of a Purpose Group for two years. Since 2019, his livelihood depends on only trading shoes. He has received three loans and paid them back on time. He was recently elected treasure of the group. But after a few weeks, an unexpected break-in happened in his home, and he lost his stock of shoes, which was estimated to be valued at a minimum of 20,000 birr (about $400). Due to the break-in, he did not have cash available, and the only solution was to borrow from the savings group and apply with a social fund contribution. Based on the savings group loan application form the group allowed, the loan is repayable at 1200 birr at the interest rate 3% and social contribution (which is not repayable) of 4000 birr. Now, he has been able to start trading shoes again. Of the event, he shared that “Plant With Purpose savings group is a means to cope with an unforeseen event.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Our participant communities are in Andabet which is in South Gondar of the Amhara region. Program placement is based on multiple factors including organizational connection with key stakeholders, assessment of community readiness and need for our program.
There has been ongoing conflict along the Amhara/Tigray border which is a distance from our participant communities. We have had periods of imminent danger in our participant communities but the conflict has not come into our communities directly. We work closely with our Ethiopian partners to ensure safety and security for our employees and participants.
We are privileged to be the only organization collaborating with the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC). The EOTC is the largest church in Ethiopia and the greater proportion of our participants in the Amhara region are members of the EOTC.
Our model is unique in that it incorporates economic empowerment, environmental restoration and spiritual renewal. This model has proven to be a powerful transformational approach in the rural farmer communities where we work.
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Our Global Impact

Thailand

  • 34 Purpose Groups
  • 1,634 People Served
  • 57 Church Partnerships
  • 1,439,264 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Thailand

    Tanzania

  • 489 Purpose Groups
  • 58,344 People Served
  • 275 Church Partnerships
  • 15,971,317 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Tanzania

    Mexico

  • 226 Purpose Groups
  • 14,633 People Served
  • 82 Church Partnerships
  • 975,218 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Mexico

    Haiti

  • 585 Purpose Groups
  • 84,234 People Served
  • 110 Church Partnerships
  • 5,135,452 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Haiti

    Ethiopia

  • 132 Purpose Groups
  • 12,787 People Served
  • 55 Church Partnerships
  • 535,574 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Ethiopia

    Dominican Republic

  • 284 Purpose Groups
  • 39,944 People Served
  • 147 Church Partnerships
  • 14,285,179 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Dominican Republic

    Democratic Republic of the Congo

  • 369 Purpose Groups
  • 88,370 People Served
  • 127 Church Partnerships
  • 2,967,355 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in the DRC

    Burundi

  • 540 Purpose Groups
  • 77,896 People Served
  • 159 Church Partnerships
  • 7,378,105 Trees Planted
  • More about our work in Burundi

    USA

    Our Global Headquarters:
    4747 Morena Blvd., Suite 100,
    San Diego, CA 92117

    858.274.3718
    [email protected]

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